Day 1: Yellow Mountain. This journey begins in Shanghai. If you need advice or assistance getting to Shanghai then please contact us. We leave the hustle and bustle of Shanghai behind and fly to Huangshan. You will be met by your local guide who will then check you in to your hotel and give you an introduction to the downtown. Huangshan is a tourist city with many enhanced facilities due to the number of visitors passing through to ascend the mountain and to see the rich variety of other cultural sites nearby.
You will notice the preponderance of Hui minority people living and working here, descendants of Muslim traders from the glorious Silk Road days. The province Anhui even gets its name from this group in a roundabout way; Huangshan used to be called Huizhou (town of the Hui people), and the province is named after the then two biggest cities Anqing and Huizhou. Meals: lunch, dinner.
Day 2: Abode of Huang Di. Today we ascend Huang Shan (the Yellow Mountain). The peak is named after Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor) the semi-mythical ancestor of the Chinese people who is said to have stayed here at times to make pills of immortality. We will use cable cars to ascend and descend the mountain. This saves our energy for the considerable walking required between the various scenic spots. Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 3: Ancestors remembered. We have an excursion to east of the city today. This takes us into a very traditional area where a great number of cultural relics remain: most being symbols of the strong ties between families and their significant ancestors. We head into Shexian County where our first stop will be the Huangshan Mysterious Grottoes. This series of 36 caves contain a few enigmas for researchers. Sounds seem to be transmitted between caves but no-one knows for sure whether they are all connected. Some have been connected artificially: but since this was done from about 1700 years ago it is not clear for what purpose.
You can enjoy the rock formations and formulate explanations of your own. We also see the seven Tangyue Archways built by the Bao family in honour of their predecessors over a period spanning the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The oldest was built about 600 years ago. We then head to the Bao Family Gardens nearby. These gardens are special because of the collection of bonsai trees inspired by the weird and wonderful ones growing wild on Huang Shan and its satellites. Our furthest stop is at Chengkan Village which is said to have had an original design plan like a trigram (one of the binary diagrams used to represent combinations of yin and yang in the I-ching Book of Changes).
Baolun Hall is worthy of a visit in its own right, having intricate and colourful wooden architecture. On the way back we will also visit the Qiankou Ancestral Home. Ten of the best Ming Dynasty buildings were moved here in the 1980s to ensure that they were preserved and accessible to visitors. The buildings represent the typical range of structures built locally. Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 4: Curios. We visit sites to the west of Huangshan today before you head off to the airport and fly back to Shanghai. The village of Hongcun is famous throughout China. It was established by a well-to-do family, the Wang clan. The village plan is supposed to be that of an Ox though you may not see it that way. Almost every building is an architectural treasure and you will feel immersed in a Minq/Qing Dynasty setting. Next we head over to nearby Lucun Village where the Zhicheng Hall is considered to have some of the finest examples of woodcarving anywhere.
We return to the city, to Tunxi Old Street which was constructed by workers returning from employment in Hangzhou: the capital back then. It is therefore more grand than one would expect for a provincial city. It was designed so as to attract merchants to the area and it serves the same purpose today: being now mostly a shopping street for tourists. The range of curio shops will provide rich pickings for souvenirs and gifts. We make one planned stop at the Hukaiwen Ink-stone Factory, a rare chance to see this traditional craft. You say goodbye to your local guide at the airport. Another guide will meet you in Shanghai and ensure you are checked back in to your hotel there. The rest of your time is free. Meals: breakfast, lunch.
Day 5: Journey's end. This Journey ends after breakfast. Check-out is usually 12:00 (noon).
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